Latest Flash

Full House

Yeah, you got to know when to hold them, and you better know when to fold them. But pissed blokes and knuckledusters? Ol' Kenny wouldn't stand a chance with this crowd.


Full House by John Morris


Every time the pot got healthy, they both had hands to play. They’d never sat in before, but no one can be that bloody lucky. I gave Richie a hard look and held up my hands.

“I need a leak, guys—hold the deal for a minute.”

Richie got the message and grinned.

“He’s got a bladder like a virgin pensioner, but I might as well squeeze a drop out to save time.”

He followed me out and we headed downstairs to the bog. We were playing in the upstairs room at The Crown after closing and had to use the bog in the bar. I unzipped and stood at the trap, pissing nothing, waiting to see if anyone followed us down. They didn’t.

“Come on then,” said Richie, “why are we standing here with our dicks in our hands?”

“Haven’t you sussed it?”

He gave me a blank look. “Spit it out.”

“That pair of tossers are taking the piss.”

“Which ones?”

“Fuck me, Richie, do you play with your eyes closed? The bloke on my left and the one opposite you; they’re teamed up.”

Richie’s eyes narrowed. “Are you sure?”

“Fuckin’ certain. When the first one bets, the other follows and they’ve got enough readies to make it expensive to stay in. They’re making us chuck, when we’d call a singleton.”

“So we team up against them?”

Richie wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. “We’re almost potless mate, so we can’t beat them at their game. We need a word afterwards.”

He nodded. “In the car park?”

“No way. We’ll follow them when they leave, stop ’em hard and share their winnings.”

The simple plans are always the best and there was nothing to discuss as we made our way back to the game. We both had short stacks and I knew we’d be blown out pronto. I was glad when we had to call it a night, to rude comments from the regulars, who still had a few quid left.

We checked the cars as we left and the only one we didn’t recognise was a Toyota FWD. We gambled that the team would turn towards town, and so parked up in a layby to wait. It turned into a long one, with Ritchie bitching after half an hour.

“Why not tell the other lads and give the tossers a slap in the pub? We could all have a taste of what they brought with them.”

“Fuck that for a game of soldiers. We spotted them, we get paid. The lads can make their own chances.”

Talk stopped as headlights lit up the car. Ritchie slid down in his seat to stay out of sight. As it passed, we saw it was the Toyota with two up. I swung out of the layby and dropped in behind the target.

“Whose car are we in?” Richie liked to know everything.

“Rickaby’s.”

“How hot?”

“They used it on a job in Scotland. He’s asked me to tool round here for a couple of days, get it on the cameras and then ditch it—get plod thinking it was a Midlands team on an away day.”

“Let’s do it then.”

We’d reached a straight stretch and I floored it, the Beamer picking up like shit off a shovel. I hammered past the Toyota, swung in front and hit the brakes. The contact slammed us back in our seats, but we expected it. Richie shot out of the car as it stopped and legged it to the Toyota, me just as quick to the driver’s side. Richie beat me to it and had the passenger door open in a flash. Both men were dazed and tied in by seat belts; they had no chance. I punched the driver hard on the ear and jumped back as Richie pitched into the one on the passenger side. The big knuckleduster Richie used spread blood every which way and I didn’t want to get covered. The interior light lit the car and I could see the passenger’s face had come apart. Even his mother wouldn’t know him without a map. I shouted at Ritchie to back off and leaned in to hammer the driver, who was groping for his seat belt catch. I gave him three in the ribs and he forgot his seat belt, gagging as he tried to suck in breath.

“Pockets,” I snapped and ripped my bloke’s coat open.

It took seconds to find his wallet and a healthy wedge in his inside pocket. Richie’s “Bingo!” meant he’d found the same. It was time to go.

The Beamer had a fair bit of damage to the back end, but it still drove okay and I tossed my bloke’s wallet into Richie’s lap as I accelerated away. He kept laughing as he counted the wedge, finally using his version of a foreign language to give me a heads up.

“Two and a half large, monsewer and I’m hopin’ this watch ain’t a fake.”

“You nicked his watch?”

“It’s a Rolex, mate.” He peered at it in the poor light. “Oh shit.”

I laughed. “It’s a fake?”

“Bollocks to the watch. They’re both carrying police ID. This one’s a Detective Chief Inspector.”

“Are the cards kosher?” A stupid question—we’d both seen detectives ID often enough to know and Ritchie didn’t bother to answer.

“So what now?” Ritchie asked.

I thought for a second. “We torch the motor and organise some of the lads at the club. Leaving the game early, we’ll say we were there when this went down. We’ll burn the motor behind the dog track and get Twoc to pick us up.”

An hour later we rolled up at the Foxton Club, our late night drinking venue. A party was in full swing and some bloke we’d never met was in the chair at the bar and bought us our first round.

As we toasted him, I asked what the celebration was about.

A police retirement was really going to fuck up our alibi.

Married with two grown children, John Morris worked in the pharma industry before moving into management consultancy. He’s written regularly for business journals, and has sold several short stories to women’s magazines using the name Brenda. His spare time is spent on race courses trying not to back slow horses and at antique auctions buying etchings.